2. The Abbey Church (11th & 12th century)
In its original form, the church and its latin cross-style layout was more modest in size. The walls were not as high, nor as thick. The whole edifice was topped with a wooden roof structure which underwent many modifications from the end of the 11th century through to the middle of the 12th century :
- A bell tower was built,
- A new façade was constructed slightly in front of the 11th century one,
- The main nave was linked up and covered by cupolas (to fit in with the new liturgical requirements of the time).
The cupolas were ruined by the fire in 1648.
Today the romanesque stone roof has been replaced by a wooden ceiling.
After the Revolution the Abbey Church became a military barracks. Window openings were subsequently made in the façade.
A flooring was put in half-way up the structure. The ground floor level served as stables.
The building was handed back to be re-used as a church in the middle of the 20th century. It is also a place where concerts are held throughout the year and especially during the Saintes Music Festival which takes place in July.